Lies From The Deepest Self

By Aisha-Sky Gates

I was lying and it was best we kept it that way. After all, there were sixteen years of marriage to get through.

I tried to begin Me in college in Missouri but it was the ‘70s. I had no right to expect care for sexual-assault-in-a-dorm-room. I couldn\’t say the words even to myself so I thought, “I am a woman now.” That\’s what violence had declared.

I married the very next sexual predator to approach me.

Had we run away to Arkansas in shame? “She\’s pregnant.” Well, not that I knew about it or wanted it. Then, the doctor told us. Then, the baby came too early in our apartment. I grieved. The nurses and relatives expected it.

Oregon. He had impregnated me again. He tries to do the same for his old girlfriend. If she can\’t have him she wants his baby. My cultural inheritance kept telling me that I was responsible. Make more with less, you know.

California. Oregon. Ohio. A woman here and there. The absolute deadline for his doctoral thesis was coming up. Eight years. I have three children to care for and still no degree. Physical violence and terrorizing me with a loaded gun has escalated. He says I\’m not to touch them except to feed them. I am allowed four hours of sleep each day. The children are hostages forced to stay in their room day after day. I had done the research. Now I wrote three chapters in record time. I followed up with the submission of his thesis.

Massachusetts. He got hired as faculty. The college didn\’t notice his preying on students. We, the family, were good cover for him; he was amused. He gave me a thorough beating in the kitchen. My oldest asked me if what she thought had happened did. “No, of course not.”

He moved his student-girlfriend into the house with us there on campus. We self-divorced; he said no lawyers. I was made to sleep on the third floor right above him and her. I believed what he told me: no money, no friends, and nobody cared. Nine months of cohabitating later, I was forced to get out.

A year later – homeless on the street, homeless shelter, job and first apartment – I fought in the courts for my children. He told the children and anyone who would listen that I had abandoned them. What I wanted was his money. My oldest told a salacious lie about me to protect her father.

Seventeen years later my baby came looking for me. My four-year-old boy had been neglected, malnourished, and not allowed to go to school. He was routinely beaten by his father. At 21 he was undersized for his age. He was mentally unbalanced and very defensive. He would not let me help him. He disappeared after a short visit.

Twelve more years have passed. I hardly feel them. I no longer have to lie to myself about anything.

\"\"Aisha-Sky Gates is the author of UNEQUAL PARTNERSHIP: A DATING GUIDE FOR LOVING NON-EGALITARIAN RELATIONSHIPS. She is currently working on her second book, UNEQUAL PARTNERSHIPS with an accompanying mobile app. The internet is littered with her articles and essays and blog postings, which are always about intimate relationships.

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